‘The better the preparation, the better the feast’

by Kevin Birnbaum

What better way to kick off the new liturgical year than with the King’s Singers’ gorgeous rendition of “Veni, veni, Emmanuel”?

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a season of preparation for the coming of the Lord. As Mother Cecilia of Advent at Ephesus fame noted in our Q&A the other day, Advent “is one of the most beautiful liturgical seasons, but unfortunately one of the most neglected!”

It’s easy to get caught up in the bustle and excitement (and stress) of the month-and-a-half-long “holiday season,” but I hope I’ll have the discipline to follow Mother Cecilia’s prescription for a fruitful Advent:

Silent prayer, in union with Our Lady, sacrifice, and the hope-filled Advent liturgy are all fruitful preparations for a grace-filled Christmas! The better the preparation, the better the feast. Advent is a good synopsis of life’s journey: the more generous we are in seeking Christ, the more joy He will give us in anticipating the vision of Him in the life to come.

For more on Advent, check out Our Sunday Visitor’s “Definitive Guide to Advent and Christmas:

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin Adventus, which means “coming.” It is a time for quiet reflection, prayer and conversion in anticipation of the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The readings and the liturgies during Advent prepare us for the birth of Jesus, but they also prepare us for the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world. The season offers us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert as we await his Second Coming. … Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. Unlike the secular year, which marks the passage of time, the liturgical year celebrates the sacred mysteries of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.